Ferrari must not be 'blind' to Spanish GP weaknesses - Sebastian Vettel
May 14 2018 by Johnnie Parsons
Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes will be able to apply pressure to Ferrari on a more consistent basis, such was the level of his performance in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas was second, in 1:16.213, with Vettel third and 0.132 off the pace.
Sebastian Vettel had jumped Bottas to seize second place on the first lap and survived a strategic skirmish with the Finn before lap 20 to hold onto the position, but a tactical blunder by Ferrari under virtual safety vehicle conditions at half distance cost the German his podium place. But the Dutchman will savour finishing in a respectable P3 and collecting 15 valuable points for Red Bull. But Vettel defended the strategy call by saying it was "not an option for us to stay out" due to excessive tyre wear, adding that he overshot his pit box.
Verstappen and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo moved up to first and third, with Red Bull opting to run their drivers on a longer opening stint.
Vertappen held off Vettel for a first podium finish of the season despite damaging a front wing when he ran into Lance Stroll's Williams after the virtual safety vehicle restart.
Hamilton also became the first F1 driver to finish in the points in 30 consecutive races.
The defending world champion had to wait until the fourth round in Azerbaijan to pick up his first win of the campaign, but an imperious drive in Barcelona made it back-to-back victories for the Briton.
Hamilton, like teammate Bottas, has less than year remaining on his current contract and has been elusive on making any firm commitments to both Mercedes and Formula One at various times in recent months.
"Today the vehicle and myself, I felt that synergy which I hadn't been feeling for the whole year", said Hamilton as he celebrated his 64th career win. "It's a really good feeling". A one-two for the team. "I hope we can continue". Vettel started strong, too. Hamilton and Bottas were in full control, but Ferrari men Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen were right behind snapping at their heels. Sauber's Charles Leclerc once again did well to make it to Q2 and finished in 14th place. Also suffering mechanical issues were Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Ocon for McLaren and Force India respectively.
In Ferrari's favour, Mercedes has struggled at certain circuits in past years, including Monaco. Vettel finished fourth on a frustrating weekend for Ferrari.
"If you look from outside it's easier, but inside the auto, we were going through the tyres too quick".
On Sunday, the German admitted: "No excuses - they were faster than us and beat us fair and square this time, but we can bounce back".